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History of the Math and Architecture Project

Annalisa Crannell

[Editor's Note: At our request, Professor Crannell wrote this page to accompany the Rintel-Shearer student project in this issue. This page gives a behind-the-scenes description of how the project came to be. DAS]

Annalisa Crannell is Associate Professor of Mathematics at Franklin & Marshall  College.

In the fall of 1996, Hayley Rintel and Melissa Shearer enrolled in a First Year Seminar at Franklin & Marshall (F&M) called "Mathematics, Art, and Aesthetics." I was fortunate to be their professor for that course, and also fortunate to receive funding for developing the course from Indiana University's MATC grant from the NSF. In that course we explored, among other things, perspective drawing, platonic solids, fractals, and symmetry and tessellations. Melissa shared with the class her discoveries of neat web sites on symmetry in quilts, and Hayley did a project on patterns in Amish quilts and hex signs.

Fast forward to their sophomore year. Hayley and Melissa declared their math majors and enrolled together in an abstract algebra class with me. In this class, we revisited tilings by looking at the algebraic structure of symmetry groups. (We used Gallian's Abstract Algebra; chapter 27 is most relevant to this topic).

Their junior year Hayley and Melissa applied for funding from F&M to visit Spain and Italy during the summer of 1999. That visit was the basis for these web pages, which was the first part of the senior project that earned them honors in mathematics. (The second part of the project, which does not appear here, focused on dynamical systems of aperiodic tilings, using Radin's Miles of Tiles, AMS 1999).

Since they finished their project and graduated from F&M, Hayley has gone on to medical school and Melissa works in the financial industry. I hope you enjoy their web pages as much as I enjoyed working with them!

Annalisa Crannell, "History of the Math and Architecture Project," Convergence (November 2004)